Brussel Sprout Sauerkraut Recipe

Follow these tips and tricks for how to make Brussels sprout sauerkraut, including a variety of ways to serve your delightful pickled creation.

Winter 2014-15

  • Brussel sprout
    Try making sauerkraut with homegrown Brussels sprouts.
    Photo by Fotolia/fishbowl
  • Brussel sprout

For many home gardeners, growing your own Brussels sprouts can be a little off-putting. They look like a lot of work (they are not); most of the problem seems to be a lack of creative ways to use them once you have coddled them to harvest in the fall. Boiled, steamed, poached with artichokes, pan-seared with diced bacon, just about every recipe out there begins with fresh sprouts and finishes them off with a little too much cooking.  Looking for a new way to eat them while keeping much of their nutritional value intact? The Pennsylvania Dutch call it Keime Graut (“sprouts kraut”) and it makes one of the best cold weather foods going. All you need is a five gallon crock and the patience to wait it out until it ripens to perfection.

Brussels sprouts freshly harvested from the field have a sweetness that fades pretty quickly once the sprouts are shipped out to the stores. But if you grow your own, you can capture that sweetness in your kraut and savor it all season. Furthermore, if you happen to be a garlic lover, then here is where you can create a new marriage of flavors that will keep your dinner guests commenting long after the meal is over. Brussels sprouts call out for garlic anyway, especially if they are old and tired and strong-tasting from overly long storage (this causes the natural sugars to deteriorate). Baker Creek offers two varieties, Catskill and Long Island Improved. Both are perfect candidates for “sprouts kraut.” The trick is all in how they are prepared for the crock. So why not experiment this year with a creative yet old-timey way to showcase the best your Brussels sprouts have to offer?

The following recipe is more about procedure than an exacting list of ingredients because there is plenty of leeway when it comes to quantities just as long as the necessary proportion of salt to shredded vegetables is maintained. And anyway, your calculations should be geared to the size of the crock (or similar non-reactive container) and how much you think you can get into it. The basic vegetable mix consists of finely shredded cabbage and thinly shredded Brussels sprouts.

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